A boy was bullied for making his own Tennessee Vol's shirt. Now it's the school's official logo.

It all started with an amazing teacher.

via Laura Snyder / Facebook and University of Tennessee / Twitter

Jerry Seinfeld once perfectly described the arbitrary nature of being a sports fan, saying:

"Loyalty to any one sports team is pretty hard to justify, because the players are always changing, the team can move to another city. You're actually rooting for the clothes, when you get right down to it."

Seinfeld is right in saying that being an obsessive sports fan can be a little silly, but he misses the wonderful feeling of community created among people who root for the same clothes.


Over the weekend, fans of the University of Tennessee were a perfect example of the great things that can happen when fans get together.

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Recently, an unnamed boy at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, told his teacher, Laura Snyder, that he wanted to wear a Tennessee Volunteers shirt for the school's college colors day.

"This particular child came to me and told me that he wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but he didn't have one," she wrote on Facebook. "We discussed that he could wear an orange shirt to show his spirit. He told me every day leading up to it that he had an orange shirt that he was going to wear.

On college colors day, the boy proudly wrote his orange shirt and then made it "official" by drawing a U of T logo on a piece of paper and attaching it to his orange shirt.

via Laura Snyder / Facebook

Unfortunately, the child's clever display of ad-hoc ingenuity didn't sit well with some of the girls at his school.

"After lunch, he came back to my room, put his head on on his desk and was crying. Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn't even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt. He was DEVASTATED," the teacher wrote.

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The amazing teacher decided to buy her student a Tennessee Volunteers shirt and reached out to her followers on social media to see if anyone had any UT connections to make things "a little extra special."

The post went viral among Volunteer fans and UT sent a care package to her class room to support the young fan.

via Laura Snyder / Facebook

"My student was so amazed at all the goodies in the box. He proudly put on the jersey and one of the many hats in the box. All who saw had either goosebumps or tears while we explained that he had inspired and touched the lives of so many people … My student got to pass out UT swag to his classmates. They were ecstatic!!" the teacher wrote.

The moving gesture by the school didn't stop there. The team used the boy's design to create an official UT shirt with proceeds going to STOMP Out Bullying, a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to eradicating bullying of all forms.

So many people went to the site to buy a shirt, the site crashed.

The gesture from the school and her son's teacher was too much for the boy's mother.

"I am overwhelmed by the love I feel from this extended community and the pride I feel for my son and for being a VFL," she wrote.

"Every comment, item sent, and action taken on behalf of my son will never be forgotten and hopefully will serve as inspiration for him throughout his life."

Culture

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture